It’s not you. It’s the world around you.

We’re not meant or designed to live and work in noisy, densely populated, concrete communities, consuming artificial foods and breathing air filled with pollutants.

We’re design to live in colourful, wide open spaces, inhaling fresh air, surrounded by trees, flora, fauna, rivers, lakes, oceans and amazing vistas.

Our bodies were built to be active, to roam, explore and discover. Our minds are naturally curious. We’re meant to question, wonder and uncover the truth about who we are, not be criticized or shamed for it. We’re not meant to be the same. Our differences should excite us, not provoke us into violence.

As children, we’re meant to run wild, to learn by “doing” not learn by being caged up all day. We’re meant to fall down, get hurt, heal, taste a bit of mud, so our bodies learn how to fight disease, then dust ourselves off and run free again. We’re here to use our minds to create and inspire one another.

It’s so simple, yet, the programming pumped into us from the day we’re born, points us away from our authentic selves. Then, for the rest of our lives, we’re on a quest back to find out whom we’re meant to be and what we’re here to do.

We’ve created a world not built for our authentic selves, but built to manage, control and organize our human population.

Our little spirits are assaulted every day, with words, instructions, commands, rules and fear based decrees contrary to our deepest inner “knowing” but, we go along with it, because it’s what we’ve been trained to do. It’s no wonder there’s a global mental health crisis😔.

Then one day you break free from it all and run so far away you can finally look back and see the brokenness, not in you, but in the world, and it’s in this moment you begin the journey back to yourself.

Your tired, beautiful, spirit is trying to cope in an upside down world. Give yourself a pat on the back and a huge hug for making it this far. You really are quite amazing!❤️

Set yourself free, if only for a little while and allow your spirit to run wild and unencumbered. Disconnect, unplug and breath. Seek out what’s beautiful and feast upon it. You’ve earned it.

Really, its not you.

It’s the world around you❤️

Toni O’K ~🌹❤️

Be still. Listen with your eyes and your heart.

Be silent and listen,

The human mind has keen observational ability. However, our busy, modern lives are filled with chaotic, dizzy, conflicting thoughts, ideas, desires, opinions, images and demands; making it almost impossible to focus on just one thing and observe it deeply, so, most often we don’t.

The majority of us don’t listen to understand. We listen to react. Or, we listen to find the space to jump in and prove we’re right. I’ve found this to be the case in both my personal and professional relationships (and yes, I’ve played my dysfunctional part in both 😊)

It’s when we listen with our eyes and our hearts wide open that we observe the emotions, reactions, over-reactions (even our own), the body language and non-verbal cues, along with words and tone of voice, that we’re able to understand the state of a fellow human being and more importantly our own state and intentions.

When I was in a concert band years ago, I recall our conductor bringing stillness to the band before every performance or competition. One at a time, each musician tuned up, and the others were silent. Then, the conductor would tune us by section, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, etc until we were “in tune” with each other. Then, our collective focus became the piece we were performing. We each had to thoughtfully listen and observe the conductor and the rest of the musicians to determine when it was time to play our part. We didn’t listen to react, we listened to create harmony.

When I was involved in community theater, before each production, the cast and crew would take a moment to rally and focus in on the performance ahead of us and the audience we were performing to. During a performance we had to listen, watch for our entry points and work together to guide each other through the performance, sometimes improvising when lines were forgotten or stage cues missed.

Many athletic teams do something similar before a game. They rally, get focused and tune in to their team members. During play, they have to be keen observers of what’s going on around them. They must listen with their eyes.

I know some of my healthcare colleagues do the same thing before they begin a surgery. They stop, become still and assemble their collective focus on the needs of the patient. During the procedure they must observe, listen and cooperate as a team.

As a community of 7.3 billion people, we can no longer pretend we are on different teams. We have to live, listen and play as if we are a part of the same symphony, the same stage production, the same athletic or surgical team.

We don’t have to look the same, sound the same, act the same, or BE the same. In fact, it’s our differences that create the harmony, the success, the wins, the applause, and our mutual respect and compassion for one another.

When we’re busy making noise, trying to be heard, being angry or offended or trying to be right, we’re not learning or growing or getting closer to solutions. When we’re loud, we can’t hear the exhausted whispers of truth flowing from each other’s tired souls, desperately trying to play our parts and create the harmony we all seek.

The most powerful messages are received when we’re silent and listen with our eyes and, our hearts wide open.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

Quiet Spaces

A tranquil pathway and quiet shoreline stretching towards infinite beauty, lead me to a peaceful retreat, a hidden refuge of cozy spaces and burrows nestled between the sand, the sky, the ocean and fallen logs.

Unencumbered by humanity, I see the world as it should be. Peaceful.
I’m the only intruder, but I’m not alone.

Burrows along the trail to the beach are home to dozens of rabbits hopping between logs, rose-hip and hawthorn shrubs growing along the edge of the shoreline trail.

I move slowly, so I don’t disturb a mother seal and her pup resting in the tall seagrass near the water.

Eagles circling above, the calls of seagulls, sandpipers and other birds, echo across the sky and add to the magic of this place and fill me with light.

I find my spot and rest on the sand with my back supported against a well weathered log.
With my little companion Bo’ nestled in my lap, I close my eyes, release all worries, surrender to this space, and melt into a state of stillness.
Then, I listen.

It’s in silence and stillness that wisdom is received and peace is born. It’s in this state that the answers come. They always do.

I’m grateful for these quiet spaces and the peace, serenity, wisdom and healing they bring.

If you feel overwhelmed, challenged to meet the struggles in your life, or just exhausted from the noise in your head. Stop everything, step outside and find your quiet space.

Toni O’K~ 🌹❤️

You and your Woo-Woo😁

I recently had a conversation with a friend that went something like this;

Friend; “Do you ever worry that the woo-woo stuff you post might put people off?”

Me; (*laughing) “Whats woo-woo stuff ?”
(I knew what she meant, but wanted to hear her say it😊)

Friend; “You know, all that hippie-dippy, peace, love and soul speak stuff you post.”

Me; “Why would I worry?”

Friend; I don’t know, some people might find it weird.

Me; “Well then they’re not my people.”
—————————————————-
What struck me during this conversation was how easily society has accepted what is artificial and manufactured. Yet, what’s authentic and “REAL” is often called weird, kooky or “woo-woo”.

There are a few definitions of “woo-woo”.
I like to think of it as tapping into ones deepest wisdom in the expression of our authentic and creative self.

For some of us, we reach a certain age where the energy it takes to be anything but authentic is exhausting and violates who we were meant to be. And so, we set our woo-woo free. (Yes, I chuckle like a 12 year old, each time I type “woo-woo”)

The world needs your woo-woo
I bet your woo-woo is beautiful!😉
Embrace “the Woo” in you 😁.
If people can’t accept you and your Woo as you are, they’re not your people.

So get out there and get your beautiful, hippie, dippy, woo-woo on and have a fabulous weekend ☮️.

Love Toni ~🌹❤️

Curious minds have more fun

I’ve always been curious. Asking too many questions in school and during business meetings, looking things up, turning over too many stones and exploring abandoned roads and pathways.

At one point I came to believe this was a negative trait because people were always telling me to “shut up” or to stop asking so many questions.

I know now that curiosity is a gift we’re all born with. It’s is an extension of our internal wisdom. Curiosity leads to new discoveries, new advances in technology, medicine and science.

Curiosity exercises all of our senses, awakens our minds and provides the neurons in our brains an excellent workout. Curiosity expands the imagination and takes us to places beyond the realm of every day doldrums. I feel “lit” and alive when acting on my curiosity.

Curiosity did not kill the cat, ignorance killed the cat. The more we know and the more we explore and imagine, the better off we all are.

When we ask questions we understand each other better, we begin to appreciate different points of view, we’re more peaceful, we cooperate and we’re kinder to one another.

Don’t be afraid to water your inquisitive nature and exercise your curiosity muscle. And, encourage the young people in your life to do the same.

We’ve got big challenges across this little blue plant of ours. It’s those active, creative, curious minds who are questioning, seeking and discovering, that will lead us to the solutions we need to heal the world.

And besides, curious minds have more fun. It’s your curious nature that will lead you towards new adventures, new people, new vistas, and yes maybe a bit of trouble, but that in itself is an adventure.

Wishing you a curious kind of day😊🤗

Toni O’K~🌹❤️

Fixating on what you want, might cost you what you need.

My life looks nothing like I thought it would when I started making plans and cultivating my big dreams decades ago. How could it?

When we’re young, there’s no way to fully anticipate the changes we will go and grow through. Changes in the world, changes in our priorities, our attitudes and beliefs, or, how our life experiences and learning will shape us.

I shouldn’t be the person my 20-year-old self thought I would become. There is no way 20-year-old me could comprehend the needs and priorities of 60-year-old me, especially when every decade I seem to emerge as something different than I was.

Yet, I always seem to land where I need to be. Over the years, I’ve learned to surrender control over what I thought I wanted, to make space for what I needed when it arrived, to remain focused on outcomes such as good health, happiness, wisdom, wealth, and love, and not get tangled up in which path I should take towards these things, but instead take the path that presents itself.

When we fixate on what we think we want or where we should be, we might fail to see what we need when it shows up.

Continue to cultivate your big dreams, recognizing the route to those dreams, may NOT be down the roads you expected.

We all get to where we’re supposed to be. How we get there, is not as important as how we live, learn and grow along the way.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

Open heart ~ Open mind

Life became easier when I surrendered my own tenacity and began to live with an open heart and an open mind.

There are things I’ve discovered and learned along the way, which I might never have unearthed if I had remained locked in my own stubbornness.

Our struggles often result from our inability to see the possibilities beyond our own thinking and the doctrines imposed on us.

Living with an open heart and mind means considering alternatives, actively listening to opinions different from our own, being kind before jumping to judgment and being aware of signs along the way pointing you in new directions.

Open minds and open hearts, have created more music, magic, poetry, peace, love and light in the world, then closed minds and cold hearts.

Toni O’Keeffe~🌹❤️

ALLOW yourself to be

A moment will arrive when you realize it’s time to tread beyond your comfort zone.

In this moment you will know with great clarity, it’s time to allow the things that have been calling you from beyond the veil of fear, doubt and judgment, to be born.

This will be your moment of grace, your moment to shine and shatter the obstacles that have been blocking your path.

The fear may appear larger than it ever has because its standing right in front of you. Still, you will face it, naked in your authenticity, showing the world who you really are and not who they have forced you to be.

The demons will retreat, the fog will lift and you will clearly see the path towards the things you’ve always wanted to do, see, say, and become.

Be brave, muster your courage and set out to do all thats been calling you for so long.

We never know exactly when our journey here will end, but we know it will end. Let this year be the year you leap into the life that’s meant for you.

It’s time to ALLOW yourself to be.
To stop fighting the voices of criticism and finally be comfortable just ~ being ~ you.

Toni O’Keeffe ~🌹❤️

Surround yourself with light

By Toni O’KEEFFE

Nov, 30, 2020

Surround yourself with light ~
When we focus on the dark, negative aspects of life, this darkness begins to poison our minds, body’s and souls, making us sick, discouraged and depressed.

When we focus on the light, positive, beautiful aspects of life, we feel “light”, calm, peaceful and we’re able to heal our minds, body’s and souls.

You know toxic substances harm your internal well-being, likewise toxic thoughts, information, ideas and toxic people can alter your perspective, poison your life and make you ill.

Surround yourself with people and things, that bring you light, peace, healing and encourage you to shine.
Toni O’K~ 🌹 ❤️

Don’t Just Count your Blessings, Live them.

By Toni O’Keeffe

December 8, 2020

I woke this morning with a warm puppy snuggled into the nape of my neck. This tiny bundle of caramel coloured fur always makes me smile. As I scratched his belly, I heard the click of my coffee maker come on and smiled again, proud I had remembered to set the timer.

I wandered to the kitchen, poured a cup, turned on the fireplace, settle into my favourite chair with puppy in my lap, took that first bless’ed sip, and listened to the silence fall around me.

Most mornings start this way, calm, peaceful and reflective.

There was a time when my life was busy and noisy. I didn’t always appreciate the colours of the day, or have the time to slowly sip my coffee and gaze out the window.

Decades were spent on the move, hustling my boys to and from day-care, school, sports, and other activities. Bouncing between work, community services and my own educational pursuits, always busy, always rushing, always something to do, somewhere to go or someone waiting for something.

The “busy stuff” is the means needed to build our lives, but, the busy stuff doesn’t define our lives. It’s the simple beautiful moments that bring us joy and give meaning to the journeys we’re on.

Moments watching a child fall asleep in your lap because that’s where they feel safe, moments making messes and allowing pumpkin guts to fall on the floors and get stuck in your hair because they’re having fun, moments spent with two little guys on a skip-out day appreciating the wonder and silence of the forest or sitting in an open field, feeling content watching birds glide on the wind.

Then, there’s the quiet morning moments, when all the busy is behind you, those two little guys are grown and now its a puppy falling a sleep in your lap.

We need a balance of busy days and days when we’re able to just “be”. Days when we don’t just count our blessings, we live them, being fully present, taking in all the magic and meaning they bring. Because these are the days we will remember, these are the moments that will warm our hearts for ALL THE DAYS of our lives.